Rising tensions

When asked if he ever envisioned himself discussing Iraq with the US and if there was anything he wanted from the Americans, Ahmadinejad said: "We don’t want anything from America, just leave the Iraqis alone."

"They know how to govern themselves and provide their own security. The problem is with the presence of the US. Let them leave and the Iraqis will be fine."

He accused Washington of exacerbating tensions between Iraq's deeply divided communities, saying it is "afraid of an independent Iraq".

"The problem is with the presence of the US. Let them leave and the Iraqis will be fine."

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran

Send us your views

"We know that the Americans and the Britons want to leave Iraq ... But they want to leave a scorched earth for the Iraqi people," he said.

"They have started doing things like creating sedition among Iraqis - Sunnis and Shia, Kurds and Shia."

Ahmadinejad also said supporters of the Lebanese opposition led by Hezbollah, which is believed to have links with Iran,  had a right to demonstrate against the government.

"In a land of democracy it is natural for people to voice their opinions, after all the government has to serve their people," he said.

Sporty past

The Iranian president said he was looking forward to supporting Iran during the Asian games.

"I support all teams. I like sports and I support sports players. No matter where in the world especially the young poeple of Iran and I support all kinds of sports. I was a sports player also when I was young."

Elsewhere on Friday Russia indicated that it may back certain sanctions against Iran to stop it developing nuclear weapons.

Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister, said: "We are not opposed to sanctions aimed at preventing nuclear materials and sensitive technology from getting into Iran". 

Russia, China, the US and the EU are trying to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons and make its nuclear programme, which Iran says is for civilian use only, more transparent.